WAXHAW, NC – On Saturday, August 8, Waxhaw Elementary School had heavy traffic for the best reason possible. From 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, families with students entered the parking lot’s drive-thru service and came away with school supplies, shoes, and food. In these trying times, it was great to hear music filling the air and grateful voices from both volunteers and visitors punching through COVID masks.
Sponsored by the Waxhaw Community and Waxhaw Police Department, the Back to School Bash Drive-Thru fed over 800 people and gave away 420 bags of school supplies and 220 pairs of shoes for students. Arriving as early as 5:00 in the morning, volunteers were able to set up tables and tents. Dena Sabinske and Amy Merrill, Director and Coordinator of Waxhaw’s Parks and Rec Department, set up materials for the event. Candace DeFinis coordinated all volunteers and donations.
Five years ago, Vic Montalvo, Denise Truesdale, Laura, and neighbors had a block party in order to bring the community together. Starting at South Providence School, they hosted the first couple of back-to-school events. From there, it grew with local churches wanting to get involved. These included Waxhaw Baptist, Five Stones, Forest Hill, and Faith Community Church. Now, the event incorporates Waxhaw Elementary, Western Union, Parkwood Middle, Parkwood High, South Providence. Whatever supply bags are leftover are dropped off at other schools.
Earl Cook, a Board member for the Waxhaw Police Department, gave testimony of how this event was a prime example of community and police working together.
Kingdom Citizens Outreach Ministry, led by Debra and Wayne Marsh, is just one example of how the Back to School Bash has grown. Denise and her daughter, DeAmbra Truesdale, helped in breaking down the supply checklist so that they could maximize the most amount possible based on their funds. Along with many other volunteers, they provided toiletries, household cleaning supplies, fresh vegetables and fruits, and hot meals (hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, and baked beans) for families. All of this was done in just three hours, which is pretty amazing. The event’s partner in shoe donations was Sole 2 Soul. Kingdom Citizens Outreach Ministry holds one to two events per month.
From the road, visitors could also see a Ghostbusters car. This display was helmed by the Carolina CRUISE4KIDS. Kevin Arndt said that the car cruising charity was formed with the idea of “getting the car community together to make an impact on the local community and making a monetary impact on families who need it.” Having done two car cruises in Indian Trail, several in Waxhaw, and one for Levine Children’s Hospital, the charity is only picking up steam in its efforts. To prepare for the event, Kevin, Jeff Sanford, and others held a car event where they gathered the school supplies they donated. For the upcoming semester of virtual learning, the charity provided bags that included dry erase boards, pencils, composition notebooks, and dice for mathematical games. They also donated several bikes. They plan on having a much larger presence in future community events.
If you missed it this year, be sure to come out next summer, and if you or your charity wants to help out, feel free to contact Vic Montalvo at firstname.lastname@example.org.